I love it when I see the collision of a variety of my interests. Here O'Reilly combines VoIP, open source and social media (a wiki in this case) all in one effort: Bruce Stewart is looking for people to "Help Create the Asterisk Cookbook". Here's his request:
We’re looking for two kinds of contributions. First, we’re looking for problems you’d like to see solved in the book. If you need to make Asterisk do something and just can’t figure out how, let us know. We’ll try to solve the problem for you. Second, we’re looking for more advanced Asterisk users to contribute solutions to problems that they’ve faced.
And Bruce has a wiki set up for people to use to contribute. This is interesting on a couple of different levels. First, it's a major publisher going out to a community to directly involve them in writing a book. Second, they are using a wiki for all the collaboration. (And yes, other authors have reached out to communities and have used wikis for public collaboration, so this isn't necessarily a new idea.) And third, the topic being Asterisk, I'm sure they'll wind up getting recipes from a ton of people who have scratched their various itches and solved peculiar problems using Asterisk. In fact, it will probably could have been titled "The Itch-Scratcher's Guide to VoIP."
I'll be intrigued to see the result, not only of how the collaborative process works for O'Reilly, but also for the actual book. The fascinating and fun part about Asterisk is that because the code is wide open for anyone to tweak to their heart's content, people can scratch itches and solve problems that are so particular to them that no commercial vendor in their right mind would ever spend the time or resources to address the issue. There's just no real market for it beyond that one company/organization. But that entity can turn to Asterisk and either program it themselves or pay someone to develop the feature or fix for them. If they make their code public, it might just turn out that there are some others out there who might have the same or a similar itch. And the itch-scratching continues...
So it will be fun to see what recipes emerge.